After a long, cold winter, nothing feels better than spending time outside in the warm spring sun – unless you have allergies.
When plants grow and bloom in the spring, they also produce pollen. Pollen can cause allergy symptoms. Plants release tiny pollen grains that fertilize other plants of the same species. Pollen from trees, weeds and grasses are light enough to travel by wind and cause the most problems.
If you are allergic to a type of pollen, you might have what most people call “hay fever.” Experts call it “seasonal allergic rhinitis.”
What Are the Symptoms of Spring Allergies?
When you are allergic to pollen, your immune system sees it as a foreign substance. This causes your immune system to react. It can cause these symptoms:
- Stuffy nose (congestion)
- Runny nose
- Watery eyes
- Itching in the nose, eyes, or the roof of the mouth
If you have allergic asthma, you might also have asthma symptoms when pollen counts are high.
How Can I Get Relief From Spring Allergies?
One of the best ways to manage your spring allergy symptoms is to see a board-certified allergist. An allergist can help you come up with a plan to treat your allergies.
Your allergy treatment plan may involve:
- Taking allergy medicines, like antihistamines, before your allergy season begins
- Using a nasal corticosteroid sprays
- An immunotherapy option (allergy shots or tablets) for your type of allergy
Check pollen counts at the American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology so you can avoid outdoor activities on days when counts are high. You can also check pollen forecasts on Pollen.com.
Also, follow these tips to control pollen in your home and prevent bringing it into your home when after you spend time outside:
- Keep windows closed.
- Use central air conditioning with a CERTIFIED asthma & allergy friendly® HVAC filter, if possible.
- Remove your shoes before entering your home.
- Take a shower and shampoo your hair before bed.
- Change and wash your clothes after being outdoor.
- Dry laundry in a clothes dryer or on an indoor rack, not on an outdoor line.
- Clean pollen off pets with a towel before they come in your home.
- Wash bedding in hot, soapy water once a week.
- Use a nasal rinse to flush out inhaled pollen out of your nose.
To reduce your exposure to pollen when you are outside:
- Wear sunglasses and a hair covering, such as a hat, when outside.
- If doing yard work or cutting grass, wear an N95-rated mask, gloves, and sunglasses/goggles.
- Avoid going outdoors during peak pollen times. Pollen is usually highest from 5 to 10 a.m. and at dusk. Pollen is also higher on warm, breezy days.
- While in the car, set your air conditioner to the “recirculate air” setting.
You don’t have to dread spring allergies. With the right treatment, you can manage your spring allergies and still enjoy the season.